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Student Spotlight: Katie Wilson

Get to know YWLP Big Sister, Katie Wilson!

Year: 4th
Major: Global Development Studies and Economics (International Concentration)
Hometown: Palmyra, VA

What do you miss most about your hometown when you're at UVA?
Palmyra is a very rural area right outside of Charlottesville! There are lots of open fields and there is a small gated retirement community with a lake! When I am at UVA I miss the calm of Palmyra; I especially miss kayaking and paddle boarding on the lake.

Why are you passionate about your program at the Women's Center?
I am a facilitator for the Young Women Leaders Program. I enjoy having face-time with every person involved in YWLP. However, my favorite part about this experience has been getting to watch the Big Sisters develop their "leadership" skills. They are learning how to attune to the erratic behavior of adolescent girls (no easy feat) and practicing empathy and validation towards their Little's seemingly immature feelings. I enjoy the active role I am able to play in their frustrations and successes with their Littles.

What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
UVA has it all; I initially believed I was going to be an engineer (Ha!). So, I applied to predominately engineering schools--when I had to make my decision I had a change of heart, and UVA was the only Arts and Sciences application I submitted. Alas, here I am! And I couldn't be happier.

What has surprised you about UVA?
I've been surprised by the willingness of professors to actively engage in my learning process. Early in my college career I was nervous about approaching professors--however now I have come to realize the absurdity of my shyness. Professors are people too; they like to joke, they understand anxiety, and they can be forgiving (who would've guessed?!). Sitting in a large lecture hall you wouldn't guess that you could forge a bond with a professor, but you definitely can--even at a big school like UVA. Professors are your biggest allies and advocates, if you just give them the opportunity.

What's a fun fact you'd like people to know about you?
I am obsessed with the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. So, for the past two years I've dressed-up as "sexy Gollum" for Halloween (it is truly horrifying).

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Dolly Parton because she has experienced immense success as a woman in the industry. She has experimented with her career by branching into the pop music scene, but she ultimately returned to her country roots (the Dolly we all prefer). She has become a successful business woman opening Dollywood and Dixie Stampede. She is philanthropic (Imagination Library), she has had a successful and lasting marriage (over 50yrs!), and she is an icon! I'm sure Dolly has wealth of advice for me and for my life as a young and ambitious woman.

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